Friday, November 14, 2008

Let's all meet at Toomer's ....

....for lemonade and toilet paper.

I'd like to start by apologizing for my recent poor attitude. Given up all of these touchdowns has made my head spin and my blood boil. To make myself feel better, I broke down and finally read the AIG Prospectus that came in the mail two weeks ago. In short, I now feel much, much better about what happens on the gridiron......

This week the players have come to Martinez's defense, have had a players only meeting and have decided they need to have more fun on the field. I hope that more fun translates into more sacks, TFLs and other general pain and discomfort for our remaining opponents. CMR busted out some stats of his own and produced the little nugget that our opponents have enjoyed some nice field position as of late due to offensive miscues and breakdowns in teams that are (less than) special. He agreed however, that it would be nice to force some FGs instead of missing tackles that lead to TDs. Of course, I paraphrase.....

But what could be more fun than a Brad Lester fumble after getting slobberknockered by the Liberian Linebacker?!?!? According to Curran's Facebook, he has gotten more birthday wishes this week than all of BDB readers combined in all their years on Earth. This blawgger hopes his wish(es) comes true.

Lester on the other hand did his embattled coach no favors this week by promising, ensuring or maybe just suggesting that the War Kittens would win their final two games to make the season a little brighter. Word from the plains is that O line coach and former UGA lineman Hugh Nall ran out of duct tape sometime Tuesday night.

Auburn wide receiver Rod Smith meanwhile stated that he didn't like the fact that our team danced on the sidelines last year while our scrubs were cleaning up at the end of the game. Note to Nama: make sure and pack extra tissues, this young man needs to dry his eyes.

For more complete coverage of the whining on the plains, follow this link to Paul Westerdawg's blog. But a word of caution: if you are one of those wierd Michael Jackson fans, you may be offended. If not, you will laugh heartily!!

Yes, things at Auburn are a little chaotic. Many outsiders believe it all started on a runway outside Louisville back in 2003. There Auburn officials (baaaah!) were in tow as Lowder met with Bobby Petrino, hoping to oust Coach Tuberville. The meeting was as infamous as the one in Havana between Michael and Fredo. "I know it was you Fredo. You broke my heart!" Back in Auburn, the PR backlash was immense, the explanations as clear as mud. End result - Tuberville survived and beat hated Bama. Lowder's jet was suspended for conduct detrimental to the team.

But a closer look says the chaos starts with some confusion deep within Auburn's storied history. Over 86,000 plainsmen enter Jordan-Hare stadium each Saturday and see an eagle named Tiger fly around the stadium, they scream "War Damn Eagle", they watch a student dressed as a tiger mascot named Aubie lead them in cheers, and then they cheer on a team with Tigers as their surname. Talk about making your head spin! As long as it makes sense to them....

The Deep South's Oldest Rivalry has been well documented as a CLOSE one. Auburn leads the overall series by three games and although the series has been alive and well since 1892, the -total points scored tilt only slightly in the Dawgs favor, 1730 - 1685. Indeed these two teams are like cousins that can sit together at the Thanksgiving table nicely ("Please pass the gravy."), but in the yard when the annual family football game starts they act more like the bloods and the crips. It gets ugly ..........and dramatic!

A few cases in point:

1986 Georgia wins the game 20-16 at Jordan-Hare and kicks Auburn out of the top ten. As Georgia fans soaked in the excitement and rushed the field to congratulate their players, Auburn turns on the hoses and the fans begin to soak in the freezing cold air. The UGA infirmary extended their operating hours the next week in order to cure all the happy sniffles!

1996 Ten years later, Georgia found themselves down three TDs and Uga V in a foul mood. Robert Baker nearly lost his manhood and the players followed their mascot's lead to force the SEC's first overtime game on a long bomb from Bobo to Corey Allen. The Dawgs prevailed 56-49.

1997 Georgia was riding high after beating Florida and carried a 7-1 record 'tween the hedges,
coming off a bye week to boot. Auburn smiled and laid a haymaker from the opening kick and then held us out at arm's length until the buzzer sounded. Big bully! Auburn 45, UGA 34. OUCH!

2002 Auburn was within a breath of spoiling the Dawgs' chances at an SEC title when Greene hit Michael Johnson on 70XTakeoff. "Touchdown, My God, touchdown!"

2005 Facing 4th and 14 from their own 35 with a little over two minutes left, Auburn appeared to be on the ropes. Brandon Cox hits Devin Aromashodu who evades our three deep umbrella. After running the clock down, the tigers kick a FG with 6 ticks left and escape the Hedges with a win.

Whether on or off the field the two programs remain connected in many familiar, somewhat awkward ways.
  • Joel Eaves was a former Auburn basketball coach who later became the UGA Athletic Director who made one its most important hires - Vincent Dooley. On the eve of Georgia's National Championship game against Notre Dame, Dooley was being courted to return to Auburn as head coach and Athletic Director. Dooley eventually said no of course and was given complete control as UGA's AD, a job he had shared prior to Auburn calling.

  • Pat Dye was a two time All American lineman for the Dawgs in '59 and '60 under Coach Butts before later becoming Auburn's head coach. After 2005, he can also take credit as an inductee into the College Football Hall of Fame.

  • Since the matchup historically takes place late in the season, the winner often earns a trip to Atlanta; or back in the old days the game would sometimes decide who won the conference outright.

  • Coaches Richt and Tuberville even coached together this summer in the UnderArmour Bowl while visiting troops in Iraq. Their team won 14-12.
And the similarities don't end with our coaches' summer plans as both teams' seasons have been downers, albeit on different levels. In fact, if Dawg fans think this season has been disappointing for them, Auburn fans would gladly pick that bone. Preseason rankings had the Dawg fans barking across the southeast and the nation. Auburn meanwhile was predicted by many to win the SEC West. The were coming off a dramatic win in the Chick-Fil-A Bowl over Clemson, they had a new OC with a brand new shiny spread system and a head coach with a reputation for steadiness. A month into the season however, the wheels were coming off.

The ax fell on OC Tony Franklin early after he reportedly alienated other coaches and continued to use Todd as his starting QB over the perceived better spread offense fit of Burns. Tuberville immediately felt the heat under his seat.

I think Tuberville is a great coach. I'd be surprised if he is not the head coach at Auburn next year. But he is going through coordinators like they're pieces of gum. Some have left on their own volition, ie. Muschamp. Others have been shown the door suddenly, ie. Franklin and Borges. A defensive Tuberville began making excuses quickly after Franklin's car left the parking lot:

"Al (Borges, former OC, twice removed) was with us four years. That's a pretty long time," Tuberville said. "And he did good. If we wanted to stay and keep doing that, Al knows the offense. That's not the reason I made that change. I made the change because I wanted to do something different because of recruiting. We were just getting hammered in terms of getting wide receivers."
- courtesy of The Birmingham News

Now, I understand bringing in certain coaches to help with recruiting. I also understand changing offensive philosophies, although I thought Auburn was doing a pretty good job under Borges. But what I don't get is bringing in a new OC and offensive system just to land a few wide receivers? They're a dime a dozen.

AJ Green has made a big difference in our offense this season. If we hadn't signed him back in February, it surely would have hurt. But I don't see CMR firing Bobo and bringing in a gunslinging WAC coordinator to help land next year's big time 5 star WR. Am I off base here? This kind of soap opera madness seems way below the caliber of coaching that ol' Big Ears is known for.

Tomorrow's game on paper has the Dawgs cruising to victory. But most of us realize we left our cruise control in the desert. The visiting team usually does well in this series which bodes well for us, but the war tigers are due for a game where their offense doesn't stink up the place. Remember, this is the team that beat the other dogs in the conference 3-2. But I think our defense rallies to support their coach. This Dawg defense is falling well short of Junkyard status, but I believe there is talent there. Time to step up and make good. Otherwise it could be a long bye week leading up to Tech.

Dawgs 24

plainwarcateagles 9

Before we get to this week's trivia, would like to officially welcome my favorite buzzzzz fan to the BDB fold. Chris Miranda once helped Bernie close down Peppino's in downtown Athens (yeh....THAT long ago) only to threaten his knowledge of SEC football. Luckily brother Jim intervened .......... I think. Unfortunately, I doubt we'll hear much from Chris in the COMMENTS section, as I quote:

To quote Coach Boone, "I don't scratch my head unless it itches". If you invite me to dinner, I don't show up with a Wendy's bag and if you invite me to read your blog I don't show up trying to irritate a bunch of Dawg fans.

Nevertheless, Chris assures us he will read BDB in the weeks leading up to the Georgia/ga tech game even though it will likely just "piss" him off. Thanks Chris, you're a helluva engineer!! Trivia this week brought to you by American International Group, Trust us, Seriously. The next two teams that the Dawgs play were once coached by the legendary John Heisman. He coached at Auburn from 1895-99 and Georgia Tech from 1904-19. Where did Heisman coach in between these two stops?

Meet you all back here Tuesday when we'll all take a deep breath heading into the bye week. Enjoy your weekend. Don't get hosed....


Monday, November 10, 2008


"Are you mad Daddy?" Conner is my six year old that always seems in tune with others' emotions and feelings. Of course after six years together, she knows when Daddy is mad. So the question was almost rhetorical.

"Yes Honey. Daddy's mad." I answered anyway. After all the Dawgs had just given up another rushing TD and subsequently were ruining my afternoon. Luckily Conner pretty much left it at that, cuz I don't know how you explain to a six year old that the defensive ends need to play off the block and extend the option attack towards the sideline. 

Fortunately Stafford, Moreno, Green, MoMass and Dobbs were not done playing. We've wondered if #7 had provided fans with his moment yet as a bulldog QB, like those who've taken snaps before him in red and black. Certainly, Stafford was not lacking for a moment as he left Lexington as he stumbled, side-stepped and rolled his way to the right flat and then lofted a beautiful pass to Green, who used every bit of his 6 foot 4 inch frame to gather in the toss. Jenn noticed that there were four defenders in the area of Green. I noticed at least two of them were drawn close to Knowshon at the front corner of the end zone. I was glad to see Moreno get 25 touches, including 22 carries and 3 TDs. Maybe Green makes the catch anyway if Knowshon is on the sideline, but it was clear that his presence created a little more space for Stafford to make the throw.

As beautiful as that play was, it was Demarcus Dobbs second INT of the season that saved our dog-like dairy-aires. Sure Stafford's talent is talked about in circles both local and national; Green is thought of as one of the best young receivers in the land; but it is Dobbs' play that you can vote for as the Pontiac Game Changer on ESPN's website. You'll remember Dobbs from his 78 yard PickSix against Central Michigan back in September. Once he finally crossed into the end zone that late summer afternoon you may have thought that his feat would be his most memorable as a Dawg. Turns out he had something more dramatic in mind.

Without Dobb's two cast-laden arms reaching up and corralling the Cobb screen pass into his
body as he fell to the Commonwealth bluegrass, we'd all be storming Butts-Mehre this week asking for Martinez to do the admirable thing and pull a Fulmer (ie. step-down for the good of the program).  Instead we will just accost him through blogs, sports talk radio and while standing aside the water fountains this week. I guess the good news is the D made some adjustments, they just seemed a little late. I watched some defensive lowlights last night and it

is pretty clear that our D-ends are continuing to pass rush in the third quarter when the Wildcats really have no interest in passing. Battle tries to turn the corner on a tackle and Dixon uses that gap to find enough room to run into the end zone early in the fourth quarter. Kentucky 31, Dawgs 28 at that point. And why would they pass the ball at all when they had amassed a lion share of rushing yards between Cobb and Dixon? I was surprised Sunday morning when my eyes told me they had bothered to throw the ball 20 times.

Good D's stop the run first and then play the pass. I realize our coaches likely had not seen much option from KenYucky on film leading into the game. But we refused to commit extra support to stopping the run, even as they passed 200 yards on the ground. Cobb is a freshman. Force him to beat us through the air.

Do I feel better this week than last? Certainly. But the win in Lexington did nothing to assuage my fears for this defense's leadership. It will not be an easy week for Coach Martinez. Surely we can give Auburn more of a fight than Tennessee Martin. But in case you haven't noticed, the bugs from the flats have a dynamic offense when it is clicking. We get a bye week before the Tech game. We'll need all of it to figure out a way to stop Johnson's attack.

  • First and foremost, Dobbs for representin' the big man in dramatic fashion.
  • Ainsley for following a five goal performance last weekend with another five goal effort on Saturday in the Big Green Machine's last game of the season.
  • Dave Archer for asking the question that was on all of the viewers' minds Saturday during the game, "Where is AJ Bryant?"  ........uh ......he ran out of eligibility last year big guy ....?? Archer then asked the more relevant question, "Where is AJ Green?" Green promptly responded by hauling in a big catch, his first of the game.
  • Adam Wynn for making the trek the the SEC's northern most destination. Adam is BDB's first Follower and took it upon himself to cover the game. He reports that the Dawgs won, traffic was bad, air was cold, but he had a great time. Keep up the great work Adam. Catch a nap in between classes........
  • Tim Nama for scoring Bernie a ticket to the Auburn game.
  • Shaun Chapas on his first TD as a Dawg on a play that rests near and dear in every Dawg fan's heart.
  • Rennie Curran - Happy Birthday!! Keep bringing the hammer!

So we set our sights on the War Eagles. Personally, this will be my first trip to Auburn. If the visiting team wins (please note I said if), is it frowned upon to take a roll of toilet paper to Toomer's? On Friday we'll take a closer look at this Schizophrenic SEC team that can't decide whether they are eagles or tigers. We'll also evaluate some of the PR spin Tuberville has given the media related to his staff changes as of late. It has lead to a challenging season for Coach Tubs......

I haven't seen any film, but from the score updates it looked as if the SkyHawks of the Ohio Valley Conference gave Auburn all they could handle for more than three quarters. They trailed by a TD going into the 4th. Hopefully theAU starters got no rest. Of course they just have to turn on the projector to get pumped up for this week's game. Last year we blacked out the stadium to welcome them and then made sure they were black and blue before they left. I'm sure they will be reminiscent of that this week in preparations.

Reader Rants! Some topics BDB is offering up for discussion this week include:
  • What's bigger - Terry Bowden's mouth or Tommy Tuberville's ears? Most would say Bowden's mouth as it is rarely closed. But have you seen the size of those skin frisbees on the side of Tuberville's head? Whoa Man! At least they balance each other out.. 
  • Does Bobby Lowder let Tuberville carve the turkey when they celebrate Thanksgiving together? It would only be fair after the infamous runway meeting to oust ol' Big Ears. 
  • Are 6 scholarship O linemen enough to sustain us against Auburn?
  • Why can 3 down linemen produce more of a pass rush than four?
  • So you want Martinez gone. Well ....he ain't gonna get gone. At least CMR is not gonna push him out. And as Marc Weiszer reports, the head coach is rather defensive of his defense. Chip Towers has a similar report, but includes a brief transcript of the call in show. Reading between the lines I would say the coaches' assessment is that some players have not stepped up and that injuries have hurt.
  • Would YOU keep Martinez? This season's stats have proven that we are regressing defensively. I would argue that something needs to happen going into these last couple of games and certainly next season. Can CMR convince Martinez to better utilize his talent, change schemes, grow a pair?
  • And lastly, what is your source for Dawg info, stats, gossip? I mentioned last week I listen to a lot of 680 The Fan. Now that Chuck Oliver is there they undoubtedly have the best college football coverage on radio. When it comes to printed word, is there anyone out there that actually prefers the AJC to the Athens Banner Herald? And when it comes to the cyber word, do you prefer the rumor mill/smash talk of the DawgVent or do you click more often on
My sources you ask? I just ask Jennifer. She tells me what should be done, how it should be done and why it should have been done yesterday.

Cord Trammell and Chris Nama both connected from way down town on last week's trivia. They both knew that Dickie Lyons had a rather weird dream about his fiance', simple battery and Matthew Stafford over the summer. For an account of the fantasy, click on the freak's name - - Dickie Lyons. For their hard work these gentlemen will both receive the DVD version of this YouTube classic - tastin' Old Crow! Perhaps they can use it to help them grow out of their

bourbon snobbery..... And given Cordgeous' streak of trivia wins he has agreed to continue on this season without the crutches that have gotten him this far. But he sends this warning: Never go against a sicilian when death is on the line!!

Peace be with you BDB brethren. I hope your week is "orange free"!!